It’s hard to know where to begin… what a time it has been and will continue to be. Everything turned upside down. Tranquility where there was turmoil, confusion where there was certainty.

Every news bulletin brings a new story and a new facet to the crisis.

Royal Free Hospital - BBC 2
Royal Free Hospital – BBC 2

At the beginning of the year, my mum was admitted to Leicester Royal Infirmary and subsequently the Glenfield Hospital.

Royal Free Hospital - BBC 2  - Detail
Royal Free Hospital – BBC 2 – Detail

A helpless observer at her bedside, I watched the staff at work, at first in the Intensive Care Unit and later the recovery wards, where she stayed throughout January, before being discharged to The Lawns Nursing Home in Leicester.

Hospital - Study sheet 1
Hospital – Study sheet 1

The ICU staff were remarkable, as they calmly and methodically went through the process to stabilise her condition and to move her to the next stage of her recovery – which indeed they did.

Hospital - Study sheet 1 - Detail
Hospital – Study sheet 1 – Detail

Their work undertaken with great kindness, patience and gentle humour. Wonderful, lovely people and tender in years to my old eyes.


Hospital – Study sheet 2

Sitting as a helpless observer, I felt my instinct to capture them working with my pen and watercolours. I couldn’t help myself… in my head I followed the lines, the colours and movement.

Of course it wasn’t possible, but the image of the doctors and nurses working together has been with me ever since.

Hospital - Study sheet 2 - Detail
Hospital – Study sheet 2 – Detail

At the start of the Lockdown, the BBC were allowed to film the staff and patients at the Royal Free Hospital in London, a huge hospital that specialises in contagious diseases. The resulting footage was made into two special programmes called, ‘Hospital’ which were broadcast on Monday and Tuesday – Week 8 of Lockdown.


Hospital - Study sheet 2 - Detail, Patient coming
Hospital – Study sheet 2 – Detail, Patient coming

The programmes follow members of staff and patients through the early days of the disease. The staff show the exact same qualities that I experienced with my mum at Leicester.

I began to draw Monday’s programme and soon broke down as the memories flooded back. I am still a helpless observer waiting and watching as they work so hard. I guess we all are.

These are my drawings and notes based on the first part of the first programme. The words as spoken by staff themselves.

These drawings are my inadequate but heartfelt tribute to all healthcare workers and carers, for the NHS and care homes. They are all, quite simply, brilliant.

Thank you.

Stay safe and stay well

Hospital, critical care, healthworkers, watercolour pen and ink drawing
Hospital, BBC 2 – Locking the cupboard


  1. Thanks you so much – very moving

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Best wishes to you and thank you for getting touch.


  2. The paintings are simply brilliant Maxine and a fine tribute to all the hard working staff at the hospital. Let’s hope they adorn the walls with some of them after the crisis is over! Take care too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Mike, it was great to make these. The healthcare workers are incredible. Lovely to hear from you, Maxine

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m sorry to hear of your journey. I hope you have a happy outcome. Love your drawings Much love

    Sent from my iPhone



    1. Thanks Garth, much appreciated, love and best wishes, Maxine x


  4. Maxine Johnson

    Brilliant Max, i thought you might get around to doing this. Love the colours and the movement, you can feel the tension of the NHS staff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much, Max… it’s taken a while but it’s good to get to it now x


  5. Jan harvey

    Lovely work, hope it helped to release the grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Jan, speak later x


  6. Wonderful. Love to you and your mum.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much for these wonderful heartfelt drawings and water-colours together with your words of thanks to all the healthcare workers. I am a great admirer of yours and as a retired surgeon and very much amateur artist I am so moved by these images that capture it all so brilliantly. I hope your mum remains well. Sending you my warmest regards and best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Andrew, thank you for your wonderful and kind message. I appreciate it very much indeed. The drawings are the least I can do and now I feel a strong commitment to make more. Your comment encourages me greatly to do that, Thank you, Best wishes, Maxine

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More please 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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